Zionism, the Christian Heresy, part 1

His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
This is the letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild that contains the statement called the Balfour Declaration. When it was published a few days later, it became the first public support of Zionism expressed by a major world power. Both Balfour and his Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, were Christian Zionists. Public Domain.

Zionism is a form of Jewish nationalism that arose in the nineteenth century. This article’s purpose is to examine a form of Zionism known as Christian Zionism. I intend to show that, by focusing on physical Israel, the adherents of Christian Zionism have fallen into a heresy that misses the reality of God’s promises fulfilled in Jesus Christ. This being the case, I believe Christian Zionism opposes the Gospel and deserves exposure as a teaching that spiritually blinds its disciples.

Many of the points I’ll make in this article are from other articles I was working on several weeks before the 7 October, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and Israel’s disproportionate response in which it has killed tens of thousands of Gazan civilians, with nearly half of them being children. I’ve not yet completed those articles, but, Lord willing, I will yet publish them. We can rightly consider those horrific events as the latest grisly wages of Jewish and Christian Zionism. So, I thought I’d better write this article to directly address the latter.

What is Jewish Zionism?


If we’re going to understand Christian Zionism, we should have a basic understanding of Jewish Zionism. Foundationally, Jewish Zionism is the belief that the displaced Jews have a right to a homeland, and, almost always in the history of Zionism, the homeland spoken of has been Palestine. Jewish Zionism, then, is nationalist, not religious, in origin. In fact, many of the strongest advocates for Zionism, including the nineteenth-century activist, Theodor Herzl, were atheists. David Ben-Gurion, the founder and first prime minister of the State of Israel, at different times in his life, variously described himself as an atheist, a pantheist, and a believer of some sort of a god.

Not Part of Judaism

As a nationalist belief, Zionism is not inherent to being Jewish, and it certainly is not part of Judaism.

As Rabbi Dovid Feldman calmly explains in the YouTube linked below, God exiled the Jews two-thousand years ago, He has given no instruction for them to return, and Zionism is therefore against the will of God.

The above point about the secular basis for Zionism, the fact that many of the most devout Jews oppose Zionism, and the violence that Zionism has unleashed, are factors that should weigh heavily on Christians as they investigate Zionism and as they form opinions about the present State of Israel, which was founded on Zionism.

Here’s one more video (and I could have linked many other videos and articles from Jews speaking out against Zionism) from Rabbi Weiss that makes additional, excellent points.

What Is Christian Zionism?


Christian Zionism is the belief among some Christians that the Jewish people have a God-ordained sovereign right to the “Holy Land”—Palestine—as their homeland. These Christians predicate this on their view that the Bible teaches that God will gather Israel back to the land He gave them anciently. They hold that the founding of the State of Israel began the fulfillment of that divine gathering in 1948. Further, many Christian Zionists believe that the Jews must occupy Jerusalem so that they can build a third temple, which these Christians believe is necessary to bring about the prophecies of the end time and the return of Jesus Christ.

Summary of History

I’ll quickly mention that the notion among some Christians that the Jews needed to return to Palestine as their homeland long predates the term “Christian Zionism.” For example, in 1589, English authorities burned Francis Kett at the stake for his expressing his belief that the Jews would return to Palestine. Despite this discouragement, the Puritans picked up the idea, and it became very popular with them. It was called the Restoration Movement. (A very pro-Zionist article that nevertheless nicely summarizes the history of the movement is “The History of Christian Zionism.”)

By the mid-nineteenth century, the majority holding Restoration ideas seemed to be premillennialists, with many holding to dispensationalism. Among those most responsible for popularizing Restorationism were the dispensationalists John Nelson Darby and, largely through his reference Bible, C. I. Scofield. Many Anglicans were also Restorationists. Another pro-Zionist article states, “The wave of premillennialism is what produced in Britain a crop of Christian Zionists that led to political activism which culminated in the Balfour Declaration” (PDF: “Lovers of Zion: A History of Christian Zionism” by Thomas Ice).

Among the Restorationists was British Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour:

The Balfour Declaration was born out of religious sentiment. Arthur Balfour was a Christian mystic who believed that the Almighty had chosen him to be an instrument of the Divine Will, the purpose of which was to restore the Jews to their ancient homeland — perhaps as a precursor to the Second Coming of the Messiah. The Declaration was thus intended to assist in the fulfilment of biblical prophecy. This appealed to Lloyd George, whose private immorality did not prevent him from believing in the prophecies of a Bible he knew inside out

From Geoffrey Alderman, Jewish Chronicle, November 8, 2012, as quoted in “2 November 1917 Arthur Balfour offers a homeland in Palestine”

From Geoffrey Alderman, Jewish Chronicle, November 8, 2012, as quoted in “2 November 1917 Arthur Balfour offers a homeland in Palestine”

The Balfour Declaration was the British government’s open declaration in 1917 of its support for Jewish Zionism and the establishing of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

Something critically relevant to the trouble between Israel and the Palestinians to this day is this admission by Balfour in 1919:

…in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country…. Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land

Memorandum by Mr. Balfour (Paris) respecting Syria, Palestine, and Mesopotamia

In other words, the European powers that were planning to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine knew that Palestinians already inhabited the land, but they had no regard for them. They simply casually planned to take the Palestinians’ land and give it to the Jews. The Restorationist-believing Christians among them apparently considered that stealing the land of Arabs to give it to “God’s people,” the Jews, was perfectly okay. The Jews who eventually received that stolen property must not have believed Deuteronomy 27:17: “Cursed be he who removes his neighbor’s landmark. All the people shall say, Amen” (Deuteronomy 27:17), and, “The princes of Judah are like those who remove a landmark. I will pour out my wrath on them like water” (Hosea 5:10).

Since Britain then controlled Palestine, the Balfour Declaration gave hope to Jewish Zionists, although the homeland wasn’t realized until 1948. But we can certainly say that Christian Zionism was a significant impetus in getting the State of Israel established at the cost of taking the land from others, making millions of people homeless, and beginning a deadly conflict that has lasted three-quarters of a century.

God’s Land Promise

Christian Zionism bases much of its assertions on God’s land promise. They claim that God gave the land to Israel forever, God has yet to entirely fulfill the promise, so Israel has a God-given right to the land today. Let’s see if the Bible agrees.


Zionists often claim that God must still fulfill His land promise to Israel. But an honest reading of the Bible tells us that God fulfilled the land promise in the time of Joshua. All came to pass with nothing left for God to fulfill:

So the LORD gave to Israel all the land which he swore to give to their fathers. They possessed it, and lived in it. The LORD gave them rest all around, according to all that he swore to their fathers. Not a man of all their enemies stood before them. The LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. Nothing failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.

Joshua 21:43-45

As a second witness to this plain statement, the Bible quotes King Solomon asserting, “Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. There has not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by Moses his servant” (1 Kings 8:56).

God fulfilled His land promise very early on. We must next consider whether God was obligated to keep Israel in the land forever unconditionally.


Before giving them the Ten Commandments, which initiated the Sinaitic Covenant (the Old Covenant), God used no uncertain terms to tell the Israelites that their remaining His people, His kingdom, and His nation depended on their obedience to the covenant. Giving instructions to Moses, He said, “‘Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from amongst all peoples; for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel” (Exodus 19:5-6). This shows that the Old Covenant was a conditional covenant.

Deuteronomy 4:25-31 also reveals that Israel’s possession of the land, as part of the Old Covenant, was dependent on their obedience.

When you shall father children, and children’s children, and you shall have been long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make an engraved image in the form of anything, and shall do that which is evil in the LORD your God’s sight, to provoke him to anger; I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from off the land which you go over the Jordan to possess it. You will not prolong your days on it, but will utterly be destroyed. The LORD will scatter you amongst the peoples, and you will be left few in number amongst the nations, where the LORD will lead you away. There you shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But from there you shall seek the LORD your God, and you shall find him, when you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in oppression, and all these things have come on you, in the latter days you shall return to the LORD your God, and listen to his voice. For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not fail you, neither destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which he swore to them.

Deuteronomy 4:25-31

If they disobeyed, God would remove them from the land and scatter them. Zionists sometimes point to Deuteronomy 4:31 as contradicting that conclusion, but they are misinterpreting its plain meaning. God has just said in the previous verses that Israel can fail Him by disobeying. In verse 31, God is merely concluding that context by reminding them that He is merciful. He won’t fail them nor forget the covenant. But, as I’ve already shown, the covenant was conditional. God won’t be the one to fail them or to initiate their destruction. But, as the context says, their failure to keep the covenant can bring about their own destruction which will last until the time when “in the latter days you shall return to the LORD your God, and listen to his voice.” Has this happened? Has physical Israel as a whole returned to the Lord and listened to His voice? No. But Zionism has brought an unrepentant, unconverted Israel back to the land anyway.

Deuteronomy 30:16-20 again shows the conditionality of the covenant and to the Jews’ possession of the land.

For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you go in to possess it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce to you today, that you will surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you pass over the Jordan to go in to possess it. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your descendants; to love the LORD your God, to obey his voice, and to cling to him; for he is your life, and the length of your days; that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Deuteronomy 30:16-20

The Prophecies of Captivity and Restoration Were Fulfilled Before Christ

The Old Testament tells us that the people of Israel, prior to the coming of Jesus Christ, underwent two captivities. The first was in 722 BC when the Assyrians captured the northern Kingdom of Israel, which had its capital in Samaria (2 Kings 17:6). The second was when the Babylonians completed the capture of the southern Kingdom of Judah in 586 BC. The Babylonians also destroyed the First Temple at that time.

After the Persians defeated the Babylonians, Cyrus the Great issued an edict that allowed the Jews to return, which they did beginning in 538 BC. After their return, they constructed the Second Temple. Herod the Great, who reigned from about 37 or 36 BC to somewhere between 4 BC and 1 BC, restored and added to this Temple.

This fulfilled the captivity and restoration Deuteronomy says would occur. The prophets also foretold these events. They did not prophecy of any other restorations. But Jesus directly stated to the Jews, “I tell you, God’s Kingdom will be taken away from you, and will be given to a nation producing its fruit” (Matthew 21:43).

The Land Promise Has Passed Away

Beginning in Hebrews 8:8, the writer of Hebrews quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34 in which the Lord speaks of making a New Covenant. The writer of Hebrews recognizes that this means that, even in the time of Jeremiah, the Sinaitic Covenant was beginning to become old and would pass away (Hebrews 8:13).

Since God’s land promise to Israel was part of the Old Covenant, which passed away with the New Covenant at Christ’s death, the land promise passed away with it. True Israel, the born-again believers of Jesus Christ whom He has called out of all nations, receive, not a mere typical land promise, but the antitypical promised eternal inheritance in which we are joint heirs with Christ, who is the Heir of everything (Hebrews 9:15; Romans 8:17; Hebrews 1:2).

The Land Only a Type

Something I find peculiar is how big an issue Christian Zionists make of a carnally minded people possessing 8,630 square miles of dirt when, as believers, they could more profitably be spending their time emphasizing that the children of God are heirs of the universe (Hebrews 1:2; Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7).

Why are they so concerned with a land promise from the Old Covenant when they should know that Jesus “has gotten a more excellent ministry, also by so much as He is a Mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6)?

In Hebrews 3 and 4, we see that entering into the promised land was a type of entering into God’s true Sabbath Rest (sabbatismos). Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus is our true Rest. Only by entering into Him through faith alone can we have the rest that the promised land only pictured. We are not to seek through political machinations or military tactics what the land merely pictured.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). “Earth” is from the Greek word , which is also the Greek word translated “land” in the New Testament, and the Greek word in the Greek version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) used for “land” in the Old Testament’s land promise passages. Since Jesus directly stated that the gentle will inherit the land, and since it is blatantly obvious that the Zionism promoted by its Christian adherents has entailed violence from its inception, are these Christians acting contrary to their Lord? Yes.

In part 2, we’ll see the typology of the people of Israel and the Temple; and we’ll conclude with some remarks about antisemitism and answer whether all Israel will be saved.

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